“It has been quite a year. We’ll never forget the Arab Spring of 2011,” said Rev. Deborah Lindsay of First Community Church during a July 9th symposium on the Qur’an hosted by the Lahore Ahmadiyya Islamic Society.
“In late January, when the protests first began in Egypt, I reminded myself that some of God’s best work is done in chaos,” Rev. Lindsay said. “All we can see is confusion and uncertainty, but God sees with different eyes, and sees a future of peace that we can’t even imagine. And just a few weeks later, we saw people dancing in the streets—people chanting, ‘Freedom, freedom, freedom!’ Their joy and celebration was infectious. The sense of hope was so powerful in the air.”
Rev. Lindsay went on to describe the solidarity between Muslims and Coptic Christians in the Tahrir Square demonstrations in May. “When the Muslim people bowed down in prayer, Christian people surrounded them and created a circle of protection around them,” she said. “And then the same thing happened when Christian had their Sunday morning worship and prayer. A group of Muslim people circled around them, guarded and protected them.
“I can’t imagine a more holy or sacred moment than people of faith protecting with reverence and love those of another faith,” Rev. Lindsay said. “It’s a living out of the call of the Qur’an that we seek to behave like God, and in the presence of vulnerable people, spread over them wings of tenderness.
“It is, after all, God’s idea that the world be diverse,” Rev. Lindsay said. “In the words of the Holy Qur’an, ‘We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you might come to know one another.’ This is the world as God intended it. God’s vision is that we learn to love each other, respect each other, enjoy each other, and be enriched by our relationships with each other.”
Rev. Lindsay described three ways of thinking about differences between faith traditions that lead to faulty understanding:
- We have an expansive view of our own tradition, but a very limited view of the other tradition. We can see all of the variety in our own tradition, but tend to view the other as one, monolithic thing.
- We tend to compare the best in our tradition to the worst in the other tradition. Instead, we need to compare the best in our tradition to the best in the other tradition.
- We compare our intentions to the others’ actions. We are humans, and our actions often don’t compare very well with our best intentions.
Part 1: Opening words
Part 2: The need for understanding
Part 3: Introduction to the Qur’an
Part 4: The essence of the Book
Part 5: Jihad and war
Part 6: The Qur’an and democracy (coming soon)
Part 7: Tolerance and mutual respect (coming soon)